Visitors and Student Visas
Foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States temporarily can apply for visitors and student visas. The foreign national must be visiting for any of the following purposes: business activities of a commercial or professional nature; academic and vocational studies; participation in an approved exchange program; visiting schools before or during the application process and/or participating in short recreational, non-credit courses; or other temporary purposes.
B-1 -Temporary Business Visitor
You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
- Consulting with business associates
- Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
- Settling an estate
- Negotiating a contract
- Participating in short-term training
- Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
- Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa
B-2 – Pleasure or Medical Treatment
- Vacation (holiday)
- Visit with friends or relatives
- Medical treatment
- Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
- Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
F-1 – Academic Student
The F-1 Visa (Academic Student) allows you to enter the United States as a full-time student at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, academic high school, elementary school, or other academic institution or in a language training program. You must be enrolled in a program or course of study that culminates in a degree, diploma, or certificate and your school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
J-1 – Exchange Visitors
The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or to receive graduate medical education or training.
In carrying out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:
- Professors or scholars
- Research assistants
- Au Pairs
- Camp counselors
M-1 – Vocational Student
The M-1 visa (Vocational Student) category includes students in vocational or other nonacademic programs, other than language training.
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